‘Fortnite’ Made a Major Change to the Game Amidst Black Lives Matter Protests

As Americans continue to protest and voice their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, companies, and entire industries alike are beginning to respond. Iconic businesses, across a variety of industry segments, are announcing changes to brand names, marketing, and processes to demonstrate a commitment against injustice. The popular video game industry is no exception. The makers of the globally popular game, Fortnite made a subtle decision to incorporate a major change to gameplay. And while there wasn’t an official announcement about the move, it certainly didn’t go unnoticed.

Fortnite lighted logo above a crowd of people in a convention center
Fortnite | Chesnot/Getty Images

‘Fortnite’ is a huge jewel in the Epic Games’ crown

If you’re unfamiliar with Fortnite, you’re probably an anomaly. It’s one of the biggest and most popular games in the world, with more than 200 million average players. It was developed by Epic Games, with its Unreal Engine software platform in 2013, and launched in 2017 officially, and today is worth more than $7 billion, according to The Sun. With founder Tim Sweeney at the helm, the Unreal Engine has helped Epic Games reach monumental revenue status. Today, the company is worth $15 billion, in part due to the success of games like Gears of War, Bioshock, Batman’s Arkham series, Final Fantasy VII, and of course, Fortnite.

The ‘Fortnite’ gameplay that appeals to everyone

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When the game launched, it was already popular with early access for players using Windows, Xbox One, Mac, and PlayStation preferences. In the gaming world, many of the most popular franchises are limited to particular developers and console platforms. Fortnite came out of the gate as a game suitable for every type of player. It’s a colorful, cartoon-like, player versus player game that feels kind of like a Hunger Games themed event. Kids, adults, and enthusiasts alike flock to this survival game where 100 avatars parachute into an area and dual to fight for last man standing status. Now with tie ins to popular music and movies, along with the coolest avatar skins and contests, Fortnite continues to be a favorite for all levels of gamers.

The Epic Games change you may not have noticed

In Reddit threads and according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Epic Games made an executive decision to remove all cop cars featured in Fortnite. It was a silent move, that came unannounced, but plenty of people noticed that police cars throughout the gaming scenarios were now replaced with civilian vehicles. When playing the game, players aren’t allowed much direct interaction with the squad cars. But it was a backdrop change that many noticed.

Why the gaming giant chose to make the change

There hasn’t been an official company statement regarding the removal of police cars from the game. However, Epic Games had previously announced postponing its season-ending event, in response to the protests and Black Lives Matter movement. The gaming giant offered a comment earlier in a blog post, “We’re acutely aware of the pain,” referring to the sentiments within the gaming community, among gamers, friends, and team members. “We believe in equality and justice,” Epic went on to say and clearly aligns itself as a company with the mission of inclusion and awareness, according to NY Post. More recently, someone close to the development team did leak the sentiment that the change was simply a diplomatic move. It was in no way was intended to be interpreted as an anti-law enforcement statement, nor an official support statement for defunding police. 

Epic Games can join the long list of companies that are looking internally, at policies, brands, and campaigns, to identify areas of improvement. Fortnite will no longer have cop cars within the gameplay. It may be only the first of many subtle or announced changes to popular games that gamers see in the coming months.